Affordable homes scrapped so Peterborough can get new secondary school

Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday

Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday

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Over 270 affordable homes in Peterborough will no longer be built after the city council agreed a swap deal to secure land for a new secondary school.

Councillors have responded to Peterborough’s growing need for new secondary school places by making the deal with developers who have already started works on Paston Reserve.

The decision made by the council’s planning committee comes four months after it agreed to remove the provision for affordable housing at the former district hospital site in Thorpe Road after developers Lands Improvement said its costs had increased.

The Deed of Variation made yesterday (Tuesday, January 25) comes with the council needing to find more than 800 secondary school places from 2020.

The committee agreed an outline planning permission 10 years ago for 1,050 houses (29 per cent of which would be affordable) with developers also agreeing to provide a new primary school, community centre and play facilities.

Currently, the initial section of the access road which connects to Manor Drive has been constructed and Keepmoat Homes are building out the first 87 houses which are subject to the outline permission.

But the new arrangement means nearly 280 affordable homes will no longer be built.

The council said a valuation exercise has been carried out which shows that the value of the affordable housing being lost is equivalent to the provision of the land for the secondary school site which it is acquiring.

The original proposals a decade ago were for the development to wrap around the Paston Reserve Travellers Site, which under the altered version will now share a boundary with the primary school.

Further changes agreed yesterday include community facilities now being co-located with either the new primary or secondary school.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Jonas Yonga, member for Paston, said the area was in “crisis” and he called for a bus link to the site and a safer walking route for children.

Committee member Cllr Peter Hiller said: “I’m relatively comfortable with these recommendations. It’s been 10 years coming this development and times have changed hugely.

“The outline permission given in 2006 is not the permission that would be given today - we are climbing out of recession.

“The city growth aspirations are laudable and a development like this will only improve the city in my opinion.”

Cllr Stuart Martin said: “I’m generally happy with the recommendations. I fully appreciate we need the school and the land for a school, but I’m not happy we are put in a position where we have to choose between a school and affordable housing.”

The proposals were agreed with Cllr Martin and Cllr Ann Sylvester voting against removing the affordable housing provision to get the land for a secondary school.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said: “It’s a tough call but given our population growth and school places shortage, it’s the right decision especially as the legislation allows for planning gain for infrastructure like schools and roads and not just social housing, which in any case has already been provided for in big numbers across the existing development.”

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